Dominic Harris, pensions partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, said he did not expect any “significant” changes to either private pensions or the state pension.Mike Kennedy, partner at Barnett Waddingham, nevertheless warned that pension funds should not “rest easy”.However, Harris added that it was inevitable there would be an impact on pensions taxation.“If Scotland sets its own rates of income tax, they are unlikely to be identical to those in the rest of the UK,” he said.Kevin Legrand, head of pensions policy at Buck Consultants, noted that occupational pensions were “closely tied” to the tax system, and said any changes would lead to a “growing divergence between the regimes on each side of the border”.Harris agreed, arguing that the differing income tax rates would cause “administrative issues”, while Kennedy predicted increasing costs as a result.Arthur Zegleman, senior consultant at Towers Watson, noted that the Holyrood parliament had yet to avail itself of more limited tax-setting powers it has possessed since it was established in 1999, but warned that pension funds would need to be ready regardless.He pointed out that the post-tax income paid by occupational schemes, and the pensions tax relief paid by the UK’s tax authorities (HMRC), could vary depending on whether the member’s main residence were in Scotland or elsewhere.“Until 2018, HMRC plans to make uniform payments regardless of where the individual lives and balance things out by adjusting how much tax it takes out of their pay, but that is only a temporary sticking plaster,” he said.Zegelman stressed that there had so far been no suggestion Holyrood would be granted any powers over pensions tax relief, with the UK government so far having only committed to income tax.LCP partner Bob Scott added that, with the referendum concluded, pension trustees could now turn their attention to the changes announced by UK chancellor George Osborne in his Budget. Granting the Scottish Parliament greater autonomy could lead to problems in the area of pension taxation, experts have warned after the country rejected independence.Yesterday’s referendum – which saw 55% of the electorate vote in favour of Scotland remaining part of the UK – was preceded by pledges from the UK’s three main political parties that further powers would be bestowed on the devolved administration in Edinburgh.A commission, to be headed by Green Investment Bank chairman Lord Smith, will now negotiate the extent of new powers, which are expected to include greater autonomy on tax matters.National Association of Pension Funds chief executive Joanne Segars noted Smith’s appointment, which will see his commission also examine greater autonomy on welfare spending, and said the organisation would be staying alert of any proposals that would have a “material” impact on pensions.
USC track and field travelled to Fayetteville, Ark. over the weekend for the Razorback Invitational. The Trojans brought a partial team to the Randal Tyson Track Center, choosing to give some of their athletes a rest, but they still placed well out of 14 programs in the overall team standings, with the women’s team finishing in second and the men in seventh.The meet started strongly for USC on Friday, and multiple Trojans set personal best marks. Junior Deanna Hill was the highlight of the day, taking home first place in the women’s 200-meter dash with a personal best and national leading time of 22.94 seconds. Hill was the only 200-meter runner at the meet to record a time under 23 seconds, and that mark improved her second-place standing on USC’s all-time list for the indoor 200-meter. Meanwhile, junior Kendall Ellis ran a personal best 23.15 in the event, which was good for third overall and third on the all-time list.Sophomore Margaux Jones finished third in the women’s long jump on Friday, turning in a season-best 20-9.25 (6.33 meters) mark. Freshman Courtney Corrin, who is ninth all-time in program history in the indoor long jump, improved on her record with a jump of 19-11.00 (6.07 meters), finishing seventh overall. On the men’s side, junior Randall Cunningham finished second in the high jump, with a clearance of 7-2.25 (2.19 meters).The Trojans enjoyed another impressive series of performances on Saturday, the final day of the invitational. Redshirt sophomore Marquís Morris won the 60-meter hurdles with a personal best time of 7.73 seconds, which also tied him with senior Brendan Ames for third-best in USC history. Freshman Anna Cockrell and sophomore Jasmyne Graham then took home a 1-2 finish in the women’s 60-meter hurdles, both setting personal records of 8.15 and 8.22 seconds, respectively. Cockrell improved on her fifth-best time in program history, while Graham moved up on the list from ninth to seventh.Senior Cameron Pettigrew finished first overall in the women’s 400-meter race, sprinting to a personal best time of 53.05 seconds. The new high mark bumped her from 10th to sixth on the Trojan indoor records list. Freshman Kyra Constantine finished just behind Pettigrew in second overall, setting her own personal best of 54.00 seconds — which was good for eighth-best all-time.USC wrapped up the weekend with a team effort, as the Trojans set a collegiate-leading time in the women’s 4×400-meter relay. Ellis, Cockrell, Pettigrew and Hill combined to finish in 3:30.66 minutes, which won the event in style and also moved the quartet into third place in USC’s record books.Next up, the track team prepares for a trip to Albuquerque, N.M. for the New Mexico Classic. The Trojans will compete over the weekend at the indoor meet before attending their first outdoor competition in Seattle in two weeks’ time.
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